Archives / 2008 / November
  • SQL Resources

    Last week, we launched, a community-moderated site focused on providing SQL developers and DBAs with high signal-to-noise SQL content.  If you have a favorite source of SQL wisdom, please add it to the site’s feed list (which you can do anonymously from the home page).  If you think you’d like to help the community by moderating the site’s content, please contact me and let me know a little bit about your SQL background (MVPs and related get preferential treatment, but it’s not a requirement).  Subscribe to for focused access to SQL resources without all the unrelated stuff you don’t have time for. more

  • Programming is Just Typing

    Well, OK, it’s not *just* typing, but fundamentally, typing has a lot to do with it.  In fact, it wouldn’t be too great a stretch of the imagination for someone watching a room full of programmers to mistake them for a room full of writers, typists, dictation takers, or similar clerical staff.  What we do to produce software is type it in, one word at a time. Jeff Atwood writes We Are Typists First, Programmers Second, and makes the point that, while typing is not the defining metric of programmer excellence, it is certainly one of many factors.  I tend to agree.  I’ve worked with folks who use the hunt-and-peck method of typing, and it takes every bit of self-control I … more

  • Silverlight Resources

    Today we’re launching, an aggregate site moderated by community volunteers which pulls in useful Silverlight content from many talented bloggers.  The site provides a nice one-stop shopping location for very high signal-to-noise ratio Silverlight content, without the typical off-topic posts most blogs include.  We’re looking for additional feeds – feel free to add yours via the link on the home page (no need to register – anyone can do it) as well as for moderators.  If you’d like to be a moderator, please contact me and let me know a little bit about your Silverlight background (Silverlight Insiders, MS employees, and MVPs in general get preferential … more

  • Installing Windows Home Server

    In a classic case of ensuring the barn door is closed after the animals have all left, I bought an HP MediaSmart EX470 Home Server last week for home backup purposes, and it arrived today.  I decided to take a few pictures and generally document the experience.  Scott Hanselman did a (probably much more thorough) writeup last year. First Impressions This thing ships and unpacks like an appliance moreso than a computer.  The box is pretty and designed for retail, as opposed to the generic brown Dell boxes I typically get when I mail order computers.  Inside, it's well packaged, shrink wrapped, with a security sticker that, if nothing else, seems to indicate that it hasn't … more

  • Stories Too Big - Vertical Slices

    I have a client who lists as one of the key challenges with implementing agile practices with their teams as managing to define user stories that are valuable but not too big.  This is actually a very common challenge, and one that we run into frequently ourselves at Lake Quincy Media and with other clients of NimblePros.

    Naturally there are many books available on the subjects of extreme programming, agile software development, user stories, etc. and these are certainly worth reading.  Additionally, an agile boot camp like HeadSpring’s can be an excellent way to fully immerse yourself in how things should be done, without the daily distractions of regular work.  My … more

  • CodeMash 2009 Sessions Announced

    Actually they were announced a couple of days ago, but I’ve been a bit too busy to blog.  Eventually these will make it up on the CodeMash web site, but for now they are only listed on the events’ mailing list.  I’ve included the complete list below. CodeMash is a great developer event held at an indoor water park each January in Sandusky, Ohio.  I’ve been to the previous events, and the 2009 event will take place 7-9 January 2009 (which reminds me, I need to book my room).  What makes this event unique (apart from the fact that it’s in Ohio…) is its emphasis on bringing together developers, speakers, and sponsors from a wide variety of technical and platform … more

  • Announcing AzureFeeds

    VB MVP Serge Baranovsky created a few years ago, and shortly afterward he helped me create using a fork of the source code.  I’ve had some interns working on that code off and on and we launched a new and improved version of CSharpFeeds around the end of the summer.  The purpose of both of these sites is to provide very focused information about the topic at hand, with minimal noise.  This is achieved via moderation, not algorithm, with real volunteers choosing whether something makes sense to include or not. With the improvements in the source code, we’ve made it pretty simple to create additional technology-focused sites, with the latest one … more

  • Updating Hosts In and Out of Office

    We have a machine in the office that we use for source control, and it’s set up in DNS with a fully qualified name that points to the office’s external IP address.  Of course, if you try and use that fully qualified name while you’re in the office, you can’t connect – you have to use the local 192.168.X.X address to get to it.  Thus, the machine has different addresses depending on whether you’re trying to reach it from within or outside of the office LAN. Short of requiring everyone VPN into the LAN when outside the office, the simplest solution (not having a domain controller or DNS server inside the LAN) we’ve found thus far is to update the HOSTS file … more

  • Laptop Rebuild - Essential Apps

    When we last saw our hero, he had fallen victim to an evil plot to disable his computer’s ability to boot up.  After great efforts at recovery, eventually he was forced to concede defeat to Vista and reinstall everything from scratch.  Let’s return now to see what’s in store in the next chapter of our story, already in progress…

    So, day 2 after my issue with Vista and I’m now at least able to use my laptop again for real work.  However, it still is missing dozens of little things that I find useful, so I thought I’d catalog those here in the spirit of Scott and Jesse’s posts on useful tools and utilities.  In my case, this is a … more

  • Vista Cleanup May Corrupt OS And Prevent Boot

    Ran into this gem yesterday.  My intelide.sys file was corrupted and prevented Windows Vista from booting on my laptop.  I found this forum and several others referencing the problem, which appears to be the result of running Vista Cleanup to free up space.  A few days previously, Vista warned me that I was low on disk space and presented its little cleanup dialog with options for compressing files, deleting internet cached files, and temp files.  I've used this little tool before so I said sure, do your thing.  And it did, and it was happy afterward, and I didn't give it much more thought.  One thing that struck me as odd, though, was that it thought there was … more

  • DevReach 2008 Speaker Feedback

    I've been posting feedback from my talks on my blog as a means of transparency as well as a way to get more feedback and hopefully improve my talks and topics.  You can see some past posts here for instance.  At any rate, a month or so ago I was in beautiful Bulgaria speaking at DevReach, and here's how things turned out.  Note that in this case I don't have any plain text comments, which are usually the most useful, but I did get a bunch of comments to my last post about DevReach. Honestly in this case I feel a bit embarrassed to post this because I don't have any critical remarks and the numbers came out pretty nice.  It's not my intention for this to be a "look what a … more

  • Mac Ads and Vista Advertising

    I'm sure many of you have seen the recent Mac ads continuing to poke fun at PCs and Vista.  The latest ones are just too ironic for me not to comment on, though.  Since Microsoft launched their very successful "I'm a PC" campaign a while back, the latest Mac ads are accusing Microsoft of devoting money to advertising rather than toward improving their products.  While I enjoy the humor of the Mac ads (seriously - I stop TiVo for them every time I see a new one), this is certainly a case of Pot/Kettle/Black since I've literally seen these new Mac ads (2 or 3 variations on the vista/advertising theme) at least 10 times in the last couple of weeks, yet I haven't seen a single … more

  • Live ID to support OpenID

    Last week Windows Live ID announced support for OpenID with the release of a Community Tech Preview (CTP) of their OpenID Provider.  A growing number of sites have begun accepting OpenID as their means of authentication, and it's encouraging to see that Microsoft's Live ID will support this standard.  Live ID is one of the most widely used authentication providers in use today, but previous attempts to establish it as a single sign-on service (as Passport) across a wide portion of the Internet never took hold. Personally, I think OpenID is a great step in the right direction, and it's something I'm eagerly looking forward to adding to my sites, including, … more